It's 1:26 a.m. And I'm just crawling back into my nice, warm comfy bed. My husband is snoring away contentedly next to me, and my warm, fuzzy puppy is snuggled up by my feet. What could have possibly torn me from this warm, cozy snugglefest?
A crying baby.
At 13 months he almost always sleeps through the night, but occasionally he wakes up and it's my job as Nursing Mommy to go and take care of him. It's not a big deal. After all, I'm used to it. I'm also used to never being able to sleep in anymore. You see, as Nursing Mommy sleeping in is simply not an option. When the baby wakes up hungry it is your job to feed him.
Don't get me wrong though, I'm not complaining. I chose to breastfeed my son and I don't regret it for an instant. However, there are times when it would be nice to get a break and let someone else get up with him in the middle of the night. Particularly in those first few months when your baby is eating every 2 to 3 hours. This means that you only get to sleep for 2 to 3 hours at a time. It can start to make you a bit loopy.
Sometimes I envy those mothers who can trade shifts with their husbands. I get up this time, you get up the next time. We tried it, but it just never worked for us. My husband had great intentions, but he just couldn't offer what the little guy needed. Any time he went in to comfort our crying son it would only be a matter of minutes before my husband would come in to the room and announce "Mom! Boob! Now!" and I would have to get up and feed the little guy after all.
In answer to your next question, yes, we did try bottles. I would pump several times a day so there was always a bottle available. This never really worked for us either. Allow me to present you with a scenario: I would be sleeping, my husband would be up playing World of Warcraft. The baby would cry, so of course I was instantly awake. My husband would say, "It's OK, I'll get him." and I would try to fall back to sleep. Unfortunately, he would then have to heat up a bottle, which meant that the poor baby would be starving and crying for 5 more minutes. Meanwhile, I'm lying in bed wide awake thinking that it maybe would have just been easier for me to get up in the first place. Finally the bottle is warm and the baby is fed. He then falls back into a peaceful sleep. As I am about to do the same my body decides that I really should have gotten up and fed that baby in the first place. My boobs start leaking. Great. The only solution is to either feed the baby (too late) or get up and pump. So, I drag my ass out of bed and throw on my robe, get my pump, grab a bottle and sit down to drain the boobs. This takes about 20 minutes. By the time I crawl back into bed my husband is already snoring away. If I would have just gotten up to feed the baby to begin with then I could be sleeping already.
So, middle of the night feedings have always been my job. Again, I really don't mind. Usually the baby and I are only up for 15 or 20 minutes and then we both get to go right back to sleep. Lately, I've actually been enjoying when my little dude wakes me up in the middle of the night. Several nights a week I work late and don't get to put him to bed, so it's a few more minutes of quality time with him. To tell the truth, he doesn't even eat that much at his late night feedings. Sometimes he doesn't want boob at all, he just wants to snuggle. Sometimes I think he just wants that comfort that only Mom's Boobs can offer. He's self weaning now, so we don't have a lot more time like that ahead of us. So, for now I look forward to the inconvenience of being awoken in the middle of the night to spend some precious Mommy and baby snuggle time with my little guy. If this is the downside of breastfeeding then I'll take it.